I have been a long time grass clipping collector. I've heard that the clippings are good for the soil before, but your presentation was quite persuasive, and I'll be hanging up my collection bag (gulp).
One of the reasons I have used the collector is because my mowing doubled as "vacuuming" the lawn. We have some large trees on our property that often shed small twigs, leaves, and spring "flowers?". In the fall, the lawn is smothered with leaves.
So, my question (not challenge), is your recommendations to resolve the issues mentioned above. The prospect of raking the lawn weekly to keep it clean is not very appealing and I just can't bring myself to simply leaving the leaves.
Should I invest in a lawn sweeper? Maybe collect the stray twigs and other natural debris - but leave the clippings? And in the fall use the sweeper to collect the leaves for a compost pile to spread on the lawn later? Am I on the right track here?
First, I want to point out that if a person were to go too long without mowing, there can be enough grass so that when one mows, it could clump or mat and that would be bad for the lawn. If you mow often enough, this won't happen and the clippings will fall between the grass blades and feed the grass.
Leaves: when you have a few leaves, mow em! The pulverized leaves will also fall between the blades of grass and then feed the grass and the tree! This is one of the big reasons why trees play such a huge role in permaculture! The annual leaf drop is one of the best ways to feed the soil!
If you have a huge leaf drop and you have a mulching mower, you might be able to mulch the leaves enough to fit between the grass blades, but probably not. In this case, It would probably be best to compost your leaves. OR! if you have a garden, or some areas where you do not want grass to grow, you can use the leaves as mulch!
As for twigs and the like: for anything big, I pick it up. The little stuff will decompose fairly quickly.